Ah, push it! Push it real good…!

Like I said in my previous blog entry, I’m going to upgrade my gaming rig. As a show of gratitude for my old system I just had to push the last bit of power out of it. I’m currently using two graphics cards in this system that are also going to be in the new system. It’s mainly a replacement of motherboard, RAM and CPU. Graphics card #1 is a Geforce GTX 570 by Point of View and it’s a charged model, which means it’s already overclocked by factory defaults. Stock clocks are 810MHz for the core and 1980MHz for the memory.

Graphics card #2 is a Geforce 9800 GT Green Edition by XFX, which is pretty common without any overclocks. Anyhow, the fan design looks pretty nice on this card. Stock clocks are 550MHz for the core and 700MHz for the memory.

I was able to push the Geforce GTX 570 up to a 880MHz core clock which is pretty good, if you consider that the stock core is actually 725MHz on a completely non-overclocked graphics card. The Geforce 9800 GT received no more than a fifty MHz overclock to the core and no overclock to the memory. So far so good, but I wasn’t very happy with these results and I also wasn’t very satisfied with the fact that all these overclocks happened in software only by using the MSI Afterburner.

After some research I finally found a version of NiBiTor that was able to actually handle my BIOS files that I read out with GPU-Z. The Geforce 9800 GT was pretty to modify. I was able to set the core-, shader- and memory-clock on the “main-page” of the program and I slightly adjusted the core voltage to 1.05V to get a little “insurance” on the core.

My Red Led Fan

The Geforce GTX 570 was a little bit more difficult, because I wasn’t just able to adjust the clocks on the main page. NiBiTor offers a sub-menu especially for Fermi CPUs and the bunch of numbers I first saw was way confusing. After a couple of minutes of asking Google I finally found a good website explaining how to adjust the clock speeds correctly and I was ready to let the editing begin. I also had to adjust the minimum and maximum voltage on the core for two simple reasons. #1 – I wanted to get a little bit more coolness in idle mode so I decided to undervolt my card a tiny little bit from 0.92V to something around 0.85V without any stability issues. #2 – I wanted to increase the maximum headroom by increasing the voltage in 3D performance mode. The defaults were around 1.062V and I decided to bring it up to 1.151V and the maximum allowed voltage was set to a value beyond 1.2V which I probably never going to use. Damage risk, you know?

I knew what my cards were able to do in the past and I did not have to experiment that much to find the stable clock values. So the final results on my cards have been the following. The Geforce 9800 GT now runs with a clock core of 725MHz and a memory clock of 900MHz. I did not wanted to push the memory to far because it simply wouldn’t make any sense. You always have to consider that this card is used for PhysX only.

The Geforce GTX 570 got a real blast. The core now runs stable on 950MHz and the memory was pushed slightly to 2150MHz. That’s an increase of 31% compared to the stock clocks given by Nvidia. 3D Mark 2011 increased by 400-500 points. The average score on factory default clocks was around 5,300-5,400 and after overclock around 5,900 points. Unfortunately wasn’t I able to kick it beyond the 6,000 point mark. I’m pretty sure I can push the final score on the new system to something between 7,000 and 7,500 points. I’ll keep you informed.

n3gative gaming rig mark II

After two years and barely a half, it’s time for something new. I’m speaking of the CPU working in my game system. It’s a good old Intel Q9550 overclocked at 3.8GHz. Actually I don’t really want to replace him, because it’s a totally fine CPU, but over the years came the issues. First of all, I had some serious problems with the RAM. I wasn’t able to clock any higher than 1000MHz without running into crashes and freezes. But this is more a board related things.

As the time passes by came a heat problem additionally. I found the optimum settings pretty fast for the CPU and it rarely got any warmer than 60°C at full speed with all cores maximum loaded. It now hits the 85°C mark pretty fast, mainly in games like “DiRT 3” or “Battlefield Bad Company 2”. It’s a unacceptable temperature for a water cooled system. Besides this issue the CPU turns out to be more unstable as it was before. I get a lot of freezes and crashes in several applications. This could have been something RAM related but it’s not.

 

To make a long story short. I decided to switch to the latest Sandy bridge chipset Z68 in combination with a strong Intel i7-2600K. I was looking for a 1366 board and CPU first, but it turned out to be too expensive. I mean, I want a powerful gaming rig with a little extra tuning and not a hi end rendering engine or whatever you might name. The Intel i7-2600K seems to be the right CPU, with enough horse powers at a very fair price. It’s getting bedded on a Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD4-B3 and hopefully isn’t the BIOS too buggy.

As far as my experience goes, the first BIOS versions of a brand new board generation are almost crap and can be considered as beta. Even a manufacturer like Gigabyte puts out a lot of bug filled and barely finished products these days, but the technical specifications of this board look very promising. I’m very optimistic that we’re going to be good friends. Anyhow, I’m gonna miss my DFI board, it was kinda killer and stable as hell.

RAM – it’s going to be 16GB of it and for the very first time ever I’m going to put Corsair RAM into my rig. I decided to pick the Vengeance series which looks pretty awesome and they will fit perfectly well with the black colour of the board. Hopefully, everything’s getting here during this week so that I can “go live” as soon as possible.

Game of the week #9/2011 – Beat Hazard

It’s been a while since writing the last “Game of the week” report and the reason for this is simple. I was playing lots of AAA titles during the last weeks and I just don’t wanted to give reviews on games thousands of websites also report about. So, this week I’ll introduce you to a title that uses the classic gameplay schema of the good old “Asteroids” combined with a little touch of modern music games. Well, actually, it is an “Asteroids” game but it differs from its predecessor. The name of the game is “Beat Hazard” and its ingeniousness comes from a very simple component, the level design, or better said, the way how you experience the level depends on the music you chose.

It’s pretty similar to a game like “Audiosurf”, you chose the music. The game calculates the level design depending on your currently chosen title. If you chose a quiet song the level is going to be a relaxed one. If you chose a thrash metal song or some techno music with a fast beat the whole things turns out a little bit more hectic. A pretty cool feature is that the fire rate of your space ship you’re controlling also depends on the current mood of the song. So if you enter a boss battle for example and the music is getting slower your fire rate will be low, too.

In this case the game also gets a little tactical and claims some planning. The easiest way to survive things like this are mainly kiting, but in the matter of a boss battle you can only try to “hide” as good as you can. It was also curious to see that pretty normal songs like Top 40 stuff turns out to be much harder than the fast and brutal metal songs I’ve tried. Classical music is an absolute no-no because you’ll die of boredom by playing with this kind of music. Everything up tempo is fine but as soon as the beat rate drops the game also gets some kind of lame.

“Beat Hazard” is a blast to your eyes. I can’t remember any game being that full of colours and flashes and explosions and things appearing on the screen. It’s weird during the first ten to fifteen minutes, but if you’ve managed to finally get into it and if you’re not suffering of epilepsy you sure can handle this game. I always find it a good thing when you are able to put something of your own into a game and “playing” your own music is definitely a lot of fun.

Links: Official website

Wanted! Companion

Once again, it was 4:00am, the alarm clock was ringing and I kept there lying. There’s no other way than going to gym right after work this week. Actually, I don’t feel that much like losing time of the day and I’m not that tired. The big disadvantage of going to gym in the afternoons is very simple, the building is packed. I’m used to switch freely between different machines and no one’s there occupying. This makes my training in the morning more individualized and I simply don’t have to care about others. Whatsoever, going to gym, even if it’s packed, is way better than just staying at home and doing nothing. The schedule for this week says, training on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoon and the fourth day comes up randomly this week.

I’ve recently (2 days ago) finished the single player campaign of “Portal 2” and switched to “DeathSpank: Thongs of Virtue” till I’ve found a mate for the coop campaign. If you’re also looking for someone to play “Portal 2” coop mode with you, feel free to add me on Steam (n3G.!nV4d3r). I’m also looking for someone who wants to play “Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light” with me. Actually, there are so many games that need a companion, so hook up and join.

Lowered expectations… or the lack of time

It’s a cross. I overslept like three times this week. Firstly, I missed gym two times in a row. Ya, I know that four o’clock in the morning is a terrible time to get off for some training. Anyhow, I feel good with and I’ll stay with it (if I can make it out of bed). Whatsoever, I also missed my regular alarm clock for work today. It rang, I noticed it and fell asleep again. Luckily the loss of time wasn’t that huge so I can get back home pretty early.

I took a training session the day before and, well, my overall condition was not that bad. Okay, okay, I just missed one week but I was actually expecting the worst. Maybe I’ll be able to throw some loops this weekend and get a little boost on my stamina.

The Sony network is back online and Sony’s offering lots of free stuff and compensations and all kinds of shit. I’ve got another 45 days left to play the “DC Universe Online” and hopefully Sony will come up with a lowered subscription fee as well. I was totally fine with 24 Euros for three month but unfortunately did I have some issues with one of my credit cards and they put me back on normal rate. Life’s tough sometimes, you know?

The curse of sleep

I feel so terribly bad today. It was set that I have to go to the gym today and continue training but I simply haven’t made it out of my warm, sheltering bed. I’m not sure where this tiredness actually comes from, but it’s horrible. I can never get enough sleep and I’m that kind of a guy that sleeps no longer than six hours a night, except for the weekend.

I was thinking about going to the gym this very afternoon, but I know how it’s going to be. The place will be packed as hell and all the exercise machines will be blocked by fat and ugly housewives pushing 5kg weights. I’ll try to make it out of my bed tomorrow and hit the road to training. Once again, I don’t feel very well with my whole condition. I feel fat and rusty and like I lost the last spark of power in my muscles. It has to be changed and it will be changed.

striped stockings

What else happened. Well, I’ve silenced my HTPC once again a litte bit more. I added a resistor to the fan located on the side of the chassis and I also exchanged the graphics card. Right now I’m using a Geforce GTX 560 Ti which is much quieter than the Geforce GTX 460 and offers much more power. A lot of frame rates are locked at the magic 60 mark. I’m not sure if I’m going to sell the old card our if I just put it in my fourth PC that is just standing around without any particular function.

Besides all this, well, I was off to Berlin last weekend without anything exciting to mention. It was just my father birthday that needed some celebration so I went there and celebrated. I was not going out or anything like that. I feel like I could need a night of partying again with all its benefits. Maybe somewhere in the future.

Thor’s hammer training

Here’s the thing, you wake up pretty early and you’re completely prepared to do your job at the gym, but the gym is not prepared to do its job. This is what happened. I woke up at 04:00am, like I do it every time. I brushed my teeth, push my hair a little from the left and to the right and hit the road with my bike. I got to the gym and was already wondering what all these trucks were doing there. Right after entering the building I saw that the locker rooms are getting refurbished. Actually, it’s more a decoration because all the lockers are getting exchanged by some fancy new ones with nice wooden fronts.

Anyhow, I wasn’t able to find the improvised locker room within thirty seconds and everything was pretty messed up so I decided to just leave and continue my training next week. Hopefully I’ll be able to shoot some hoops within next couple of days with some friends of mine. I’m really bad when it comes to aiming, but I’m a wall when it comes to defense. Whatever the case, it’s fun.

As you may remember, I was off to the cinema the day before watching ‘Thor’. Even though the movie was in 3D I wasn’t getting that much into it and did not affect me either even though I was a big fan of the ‘Thor’ comic books. The story itself was nothing more like, Thor made his father angry. Thor got banned from his world. Loki was jealous and betrayed Thor. Loki brought the enemy ice giants to Asgaard. Loki wanted to get rid of Thor. Thor returned with the help of his friends. Thor defeated Loki and saved the Yggdrasil. It sounds complex by just skimming these words, but the movie was pretty lame in a story matter. I also missed a little more action and the use of 3D was not worth it. Here and there a little depth of field and that was it.

A little exception

Today’s the first day of my recently started training period where I decided to stay in bed instead of hitting the to road to the gym. Actually, I was really tired and additionally will I meet up with a couple of friends this very evening to watch a movie at the cinema. It would be a waste of money getting there and just falling asleep only because I forced myself to get up too early.

I want to keep a little comfort for myself and I don’t want to get to a point where I start hating sports just because I can’t find time for anything else. Or I’m too exhausting to do anything else. I’m glad to be a person who’s totally fine with six hours of sleep per day (or night) and I don’t want to bend it to the limits too much. There’s still my gaming hobby. Photography plays a big role, too. And of course do I want to meet up with some friends even during the week. Not to forget my girl also deserves a lot of time.

Well, anyhow, I just wanted to mention that this is not going to be the end of the road and I’ll stick to my sports plan, but you sometimes have to make some exceptions. I assure you that you’ll find me in the gym tomorrow morning training my ass off once again.

The mystical cat report

Hello out there, it’s been a while since my last update on what’s going so far. First of all, fitness is still existing and starts kicking ass again. I cannot deny that I had some serious difficulty to get back on the track, but with this week, everything seems to be on a satisfying level. My stamina feels like it was the day I let the whole fitness thing fade away, for say, it’s still on a high level. For my circumstances. Actually, I still have like 15kg of weight too much on my bones, but like I said, I’m not facing any serious trouble during training. I’m running solid 30 minutes on the treadmill followed by 30-40 minutes on the cross-trainer.

I decided to take no prisoners and I also increased the weight on many exercise machines. I’m doing very well with this and I’m making a lot of progress in this particular area of my training. Besides losing weight is gaining muscles one of my main goals for now. I know, it sounds weird, losing weight and gaining muscle mass on the other side but according to the serious amount of overweight at the moment a goal that can be reached. Like losing at least 15kg of fat and getting like 5-6kg of muscle mass.

What else happened? Well, I got a little bit more into photo editing and developing of RAW pictures. I’m not making great progress but it finally is some progress to be found. I also joined a couple of new groups on deviant Art to get a little bit more feedback on my works. And of course a few eyes more watching my stuff. I’m also looking for a new camera, not for now but for the end of this year. I’m thinking about buying a Canon 7D, this camera got all the features I want and is not that expensive as the Canon 5D MarkII. At least, it would be a total waste of money according to the fact that photography is just a hobby mine. It’s like 1,500 bucks that ring on the bill, but I’m sure it’s totally worth it.

Gaming, another passion of mine. If the days has like 36 hours I would definitely play some games, but currently I don’t really have time to play some more story based games. I play a lot of “Bad Company 2” these days, for like one hour a day. There are still some games in queue that I need to play. There are plenty of games, as there are “Medal of Honor”, it can’t be more worth than “Homefront”. The “Dead Space” games, I started “Dead Space 1” several times, but never managed to finish or do any larger progress. Several LEGO games are waiting and so on. Most importantly, “Portal 2” is hopefully in my mailbox these days and I’ll definitely play this game as soon as possible.

Last game I played through was “Homefront” which was a kind of disappointing. Weird performance issues. Weird story and pace of the game. I can’t say that I didn’t like it, but, well, I don’t know. They whole concept was promising but the presentation was a big and epic fail on the whole line. I instantly switched back to my beloved “Borderlands” after finishing the four hour campaign. I barely had any interest in the multi player mode.